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Old 12-29-2015, 09:25 AM   #1
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Suburban Water heater operating questions

We have a suburban water heater that the previous owner installed. We are using it without propane (electric) and it works awesome.

There's 3 switches in total but I have no idea what they all do. Can someone explain this to me?

It would be helpful to know what each one did. Here are the switches:

1. The switch that's outside the trailer on the bottom left of the heater (where the drain plug is) it just says on and off.

Inside the cabin there's two more switches:

2. One looks like a plain light switch with a red indicator light that stays on constantly.

3. Another switch that has a on/off rocker with a red light next to it. The red light goes on and off sometimes. (Pic of this one below) Click image for larger version

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The heater works when all three are on, but it would be great to know what each is specifically for. Thanks!!
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Old 12-29-2015, 09:58 AM   #2
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First two switches probably just supply power to heater. Third on is the standard Suburban switch. Mine is LP only and throwing the switch starts the ignition process. If the heater does not light, the red light comes on.
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Old 12-29-2015, 11:16 AM   #3
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Mine goes on and off. Is it possible
It goes on when the electrical element is heating the water? The propane is off at the tanks.
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Old 12-29-2015, 11:43 AM   #4
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Makes sense to me.
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Old 12-30-2015, 01:38 PM   #5
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I installed a Suburban in our '67 some years ago. The outside switch, as I understand it, just isolates the water heater so that someone on the inside can not switch it on with no water in it. I routinely turn that switch off when I unhook the trailer. I also understand you can leave gas heat on while traveling, but find that unnecessary as it heats up very quickly on gas. I find it doesn't work as well on electricity for some reason.
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Old 12-30-2015, 04:20 PM   #6
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I found a helpful link online to someone's personal explanation. I can't believe how poorly the manual is written. It provides almost no operating instructions.

From what I read, The outside switch operates the electric element. The inside switch is for gas operation. I also have a second interior switch for electric (which makes no sense) but at least I have an understanding of what's what.
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